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MBJ takes home first-place awards from Summer Convention

Mississippi Business Journal publisher Joe D. Jones, CPA (retired), won first place for best commentary column in the Mississippi Press Association 2005 Better Newspaper Contest-Editorial Division (BNC). Winners were recognized during the MPA’s annual convention June 22-24, 2006, at the IP Resort in Biloxi.

His winning entry, “What’s the bigger issue behind the beef plant? Buying jobs,” examined the failed Mississippi Beef Processors deal and the proper role of state government in such industrial development projects.

“What’s the bigger issue… direct, clear-eyed examination of public-private business arrangements,” said the BNC judges, members of the Oregon Press Association.

MBJ contributing writer Julie Whitehead won first place in the best planned series of stories category. Her entry took a look at up-and-coming politicos in the Magnolia State.

“Wonderful display of characters in Mississippi politics. Capitalized on a specific demographic — I can’t wait to see where they are in 20 years,” said one judge.

MBJ production coordinator and graphic artist Kelley Fuller won a second place award for best graphic. Her work was part of a story written by contributing writer Lynn Lofton about the proper use of e-mail in business and professional communication.

“We’re honored by this recognition,” said MBJ editor Jim Laird. “Considering the excellent competition in our division, our small staff size and our niche status as the state’s only business weekly, these awards are very gratifying.”

However, he was quick to add that “the best awards — rewards, if you will — come from our readers. They’re the reason we do what we do, and strive to do it well every week, every issue.”

Advertising excellence

Earlier this year, winners of the MPA’s BNC-Advertising Division were honored. The Mississippi Business Journal won:

• first place for best advertising promotion by Rhonda Rush.

• first place for the Silver Dollar Idea award by the MBJ’s special projects department under the leadership of Robbie L. Bell. The staff also won an honorable mention award in this category.

• first place for best total market coverage.
• second place for best section or edition dedicated to an editorial topic.

• second place for best rate card/media kit by advertising director Karen Gilder.

• second place for best niche publication by the special projects department.

• third place for best advertising promotion by special projects staffers.

• third place for best house ad-editorial by Rush.

• third place for best series of ads by Fuller.

“Recognition from our peers is important to us,” said Jones, who has been at the helm of the MBJ and Venture Publications Inc. since 1995. “But it’s the trust that our readers, advertisers and partners place in us that we depend on. They let us know how we’re really doing.”

In addition to its membership in the Mississippi Press Association, the MBJ is a member of the Alliance of Area Business Publications.

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